A War of Books Ensues at Chapters

I love my camera phone.

I spent the afternoon bumming around a few of my favorite haunts in my hood and I found myself doing some free reading at Chapters.  While I was perusing the Science book section, I came across the following scene:

Carl Zimmer is a notable science writer and journalist (website here), and has won a number of awards, including the highly acclaimed American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science Journalism Award.  But this isn’t about Mr. Zimmer. Instead, it’s about why Mr. Zimmer’s book appears to be covering up another book that was not written by him.  I removed Zimmer’s book, and uncovered this:

In case you’re unfamiliar with Michael Behe, he gained notoriety (and infamy among evolutionary biologists) back in 2004.  Behe has been a pushing force behind the theory of “Intelligent Design” – an unfounded teleological (supposed scientific) theory for the origin of life on Earth (read: God did it).  Now, I don’t want to get into name calling, so I will allow a judge to do the job for me here (Dover Trial).

I find this incredibly funny – someone (who is an opponent of intelligent designer nonsense) took the effort to cover up Behe’s book with Zimmer’s as if to say, “Stupid!”. Now, this doesn’t go nearly far enough to comment on the total bullshititude of this book, so I thought I’d take it one necessary step further:

I implore you my good, rational Terry readers (in a total non fundamentalistic way – seriously), to go forth and move all of the Behe’s, the Philip E. Johnson’s, the William Dembski’s, and the Stephen C. Meyer’s from the science book section into the religion section.

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: davidsemeniuk.com

17 Responses to “A War of Books Ensues at Chapters”

  1. Roger Johnstone

    Huh, and here I thought I was the only one who did this sort of thing.

  2. Steven

    I do that already lol. I even do it with new agey books that get put in science sections by unknowing workers.

  3. Joy

    *chuckle* Yeah, I’ll admit to doing that too. Except I normally find something of S. J. Gould’s to do the trick. I then proceed to cackle manically.

  4. Jorg

    Matteo: it appears that you are quite unclear on the concept of censorship. Nobody is trying to shut these people up, or precude them from publishing whatever they want. But just as a cookbook, say, does not belong in a Mathematics section of a library or bookstore, and just as The Lord of the Rings should not be shelved in history section, Behe/Dembski/Meyer’s drivel should not be put in the science section, since science it ain’t.

  5. Brian Schmidt

    I agree that Behe doesn’t belong in Science, but if you move it on your own, staff can’t tell a customer who wants it, where to find it. I don’t see much difference between moving it and sticking it into an onsite trash can.

    Better would be to complain to staff that it belongs in Religion.

  6. Matteo


    What I hear you saying is, “censorship is cool!” Thanks for clearing that up for me. Brian Schmidt’s comment makes a lot more sense…

  7. Brenda

    Is anything contesting the theory of evolution un-science?
    I just want to know if intelligent design is being ridiculed by you because it has no scientific merit, or that the evidence used to support its claims are unsound, and not because it’s associated with good ol’ irrational organized religion.
    I wouldn’t want evolution to be furthered by social stigma against those who are not sold by it; I’d want it to be because it’s met the burden of evidence.

  8. Dave Semeniuk

    Intelligent design is not a scientific theory, it is a philosophical solution to a philosophical problem (namely, the existence of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnitemporal god – i.e. God). The modern rendition of Intelligent design is in fact an old argument, and can be summed up in the following premises:

    -Our world is too complex, or too ordered, or too “blah” to have occurred on its own (or randomly, or by accident, or whatever word you want to use)
    -therefore, it simply had to be created by an omnipotent and omniscient being
    -that omnipotent and omniscient being is God
    -as such, God must exist, because the world exists the way it does

    First off, this argument has a core logical problem, namely the origin of the omnipotent and omniscient being (i.e. what designed that being? another designer? well, what designed it – this leads to an infinite regress and we’re stuffed).

    Now, to answer, “Is anything contesting the theory of evolution un-science?” – No, of course not. But contesting a scientific theory with a philosophical one is nonsensical, is it not?

    All of this said, evolution and Intelligent design are addressing very different questions – one describes why we see the species we do on Earth, and the other attempts to account for how the universe began.

  9. Brenda

    Thanks for answering my question!
    As for the core logical question you posed, you almost answered it yourself… the omniscient and omnipotent God is also believed to be “omnitemporal,” to be uncreated and be the original designer for everything, including time itself.
    And of course, this isn’t empirical, falsifiable science, it’s theology, philosophy… and they do address different questions. Big questions vs. building block questions, if I may. 🙂
    But to go back to the bookstore scenario, they don’t sort to be technically correct, but obviously to appeal to laypeople’s understanding of the topic… something like self-help books in the psychology setion.

  10. Craig

    It may “appeal to the laypeople’s understanding” but it does imply that the topic of these books are valid scientific queries, which is obviously not the case. I also would agree that the empirical and the theological answer different questions but topics such as String Theory hardly seem a building blockish.

  11. Laura

    Ha! At the Granville & Broadway Chapters last weekend, I spotted a copy of a creationist book called “40 Days and 40 Nights” half obscuring an Origin of Species they had shelved in the Reference section.

  12. leezajion

    This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. The new years party is just amazing here. You will definitely have a great time here.

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